Tag Archive for fossil fuel

Energy Subsidies: Part III

We have seen that subsidies apply to the oil and gas industries in the form of tax breaks. Are there any other subsidies that apply to the fossil fuel industries?

An additional type of subsidy is an excise tax that benefits a particular industry. One such tax is “The Black Lung Disability Trust Fund.” This fund pays the health benefits of coal miners afflicted by black lung…this is collected in a tax on the users of coal…and by default, allows coal companies to keep their profits rather than pay for the care of their workers. This hardly represents a free market effort. It does represent a subsidy in that the users of coal are paying for the care of the miners, not the coal companies.

Coal Mine

Finally, a subsidy can be a low interest loan, or an outright grant of money, property or the right to use public lands. This applies to leases of federal lands below market rates for oil/gas leases. Did you know that we generally lease our public trust at far below market rates to the oil and gas industries?

So to date, we have seen that there are many subsidies that support the fossil fuel industry. I think that it is rather telling that we call them fossil fuels…don’t you?

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Energy Subsidies: Part II

Ok, so we know that the tax code establishes subsidies. Some of the biggest recipients of tax subsidies has been the oil and gas industries (Nuclear will be discussed in a separate post). Thus, the renewable subsidies are certainly needed if for no other reason than to even the playing field with those energy industries that have been receiving subsidies for a century or more.

Here are some Fossil Fuel subsidies in the form of tax breaks (adapted from the work “Estimating U.S. Government Subsidies to Energy Sources: 2002 – 2008; Environmental Law Institute:

Foreign Tax Credit IRC Section 901.

Credit for Production of Nonconventional Fuels

Oil and Gas Exploration & Development Expensing – IRC Section 617.

Oil and Gas Excess Percentage over Cost Depletion – IRC Section 613.

Credit for Enhanced Oil Recovery Costs – IRC Section 43.

Characterizing Coal Royalty Payments as Capital Gains – IRC Section 631(c).

Exclusion of Benefit Payments to Disabled Miners – 30 U.S.C. 922(c).

Exclusion of Alternative Fuels from Fuel Excise Tax – IRC Section 6426(d).

Other-Fuel Exploration & Development Expensing – IRC Section 617. I

Other-Fuel Excess of Percentage over Cost Depletion – IRC Section 613.

Deduction for Clean Fuel Vehicles and Refueling Property-Fossil Fuels – IRC Section 179A.

Exception from Passive Loss Limitations for Oil and Gas – IRC Section 469(c)(3).

Credit for Clean Coal Investment – IRC Sections 48A and 48B.

Expensing Liquid Fuel Refineries – IRC Section 179C. T

Special Rules for Mining Reclamation Reserves – IRC Section 468.

Natural Gas Distribution Lines Treated as Fifteen-Year Modified Accelerated Cost Recovery System
(MACRS) Property – IRC Section 168(e)(3)(E)(viii).

Sulfur Regulatory Compliance Incentives for Small Diesel Refiners (Combined)- IRC Sections
179B and 45H.

84-month Amortization Period for Coal Pollution Control – IRC Section 169(d)(5).

Expensing Advanced Mine Safety Equipment – IRC Section 179E.

Credit for Clean Fuel Vehicles and Refueling Property-Fossil Fuels – IRC Section 30C.

Natural Gas Gathering Lines Treated as Seven-year Property with Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT)
Relief – IRC Section 168(e)(3)(C)(iv).

Natural Gas Arbitrage Exemption – IRC Section 148(b)(4). T

Amortization of Oil and Gas Geological and Geophysical Costs – IRC Section 167(h).

I think that where we can certainly agree is that such subsidies, if there is truly a free market, should not become perpetual. Unfortunately, as has been demonstrated by the oil, coal and gas industries, railroads, real estate development companies and others, no one really likes to give up something that they have been given…and I should add just like most people and companies…

So, do these subsidies, and should these subsidies apply to other industries?

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